I'm a lifelong animal nut from India with roots in East Africa, although I've been living in DC for the past few years. Growing up, I was a bit of an anti-captivity absolutist (despite playing too many hours of ZT2), but that has changed as I've grown and learned the real ways of the zoo world. I spent most of last year as a Policy Fellow with WCS's team in DC. Discovered I could do a lot more for wildlife by supporting WCS/AZA programs than yelling at people outside Mumbai Zoo (which, btw, sucks). Lurking these forums (especially the National Zoo thread) made me want to bite the bullet and join! I run or photo-walk through the National Zoo at least twice a month... I'm leaving DC forever in 15 days, but I will hopefully be able to check out some of India's better zoos once I move there. Also: I've been working on a novel idea on the low for the past few years, and it's starting to take real form! I have written an obscene 300,000+ words which I'm now editing and revising down to a more manageable manuscript. It's all animal-centric, with a leopard, tiger, wolf and sloth bear as the main characters. If that sounds a lot like The Jungle Book, it should - my book is a modern Indian conservation-centric, slightly sci-fi, fantasy-flavored riff on Kipling's classic. Every now and then I find myself in need of reference/help with obscure animal situations that are near impossible to research, e.g. how would two wolves and a striped hyena transport the corpse of an Asiatic lion across a river? How much human machinery could a sloth bear operate with its tongue and lips? What would it look like if a leopard tried to imitate the fighting style of a wolf? Etc. Zookeepers are awesome - I ask them these and some significantly stranger questions, and they're always willing to brainstorm and debate and discuss. Most of the time, I stroll over to the National Zoo and ask the staff there in person. So I figured, why not seek the wisdom of the online zoo community once in a while too? Thanks, and glad I've risen from my lurker status to accept full posting powers! I shall wield them with care. BTW, some zoos I've visited: - Mumbai Zoo (through my childhood in the early 90's; miserable experiences, and things are only a little bit better now. If you're in India, take your business to Mysore, Nandankanan or Delhi instead.) - Smithsonian National Zoo (holler if you want to go and need company anytime in the next 14 days!) - Uganda Wildlife Education Center (in 2009; I have vague memories of joining a birding group in the area but we strolled into the park for a bit - I remember bushpig, servals, shoebill and white rhinos.) I've also spent a considerable amount of time in wild protected areas in India and Uganda. Some of the rarer mammals I've seen include aardvark, caracal, striped hyena, giant forest hog, dhole, honey badger and the Indian subspecies of gray wolf. I love Carnivora!